|Issa to FCC head: Explain W.H. visits
By: Brooks Boliek
March 24, 2011 12:08 PM EDT
|FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski still has a lot of explaining to do concerning his frequent visits to the White House during the time the commission was developing its net neutrality rules.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told the chairman that his response to earlier inquiries into the role the Obama administration played in the controversial policy is inadequate.
“In the fourteen months since my initial request, the FCC has done little to demonstrate its independence from the White House,” wrote Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, in a letter dated today.
The letter cites White House records that show that on Sept. 17, 2009 — “just four days prior to the near simultaneous announcement by the White House and FCC on proposed regulations for the open Internet” — Genachowski and his chief of staff Edward Lazarus met with Larry Summers, then the director of the National Economic Council.
“In addition,” the letter continued, “in the month following the April 7, 2010, decision by the United States Court of Appeals … that the FCC lacked the authority to regulate network management practices, you and Mr. Lazarus had over a dozen meetings at the White House.”
In total, Genachowski visited the White House 81 times between January 2009 and November 2010, which Issa said was more than the secretaries of Energy, Homeland Security, Defense, Treasury and State combined.
“The large volume and timing of these meetings gives the appearance that they are more than coincidental,” Issa wrote.